Known by various names across the globe, the job of a tour guide is indeed an interesting one to pursue. As a tour guide there is a lot that comes into play being the best amongst the rest. For example;
- Logistics and planning
- Group dynamics and control
- Well-informed about the culture and history of the region
- Should be an excellent narrator,
- A travel-friend who shows others the place around with fun and information involved.
Let’s take a look into the role and responsibilities of a tour guide and understand what it entails. One has to be adjustable and should be able to intuitively understand the travelers needs (age group and background wise), for example;
- Be an excellent ‘travel-buddy’ helping people on tours and trips,
- Focus on the ‘points of interest’ for the traveler,
- Ensure coordination with authorities for entry at tourist spots well in advance,
- Answer queries and provide hand-outs to the travelers,
- Check with the travelers accommodation and meals requisites,
- Should know how to drive a vehicle (coach, bus, bikes and cars),
- Interpretation and translation abilities, and
- Know how to soft-sell services of the ‘travel company’.
It is but important for the tour guide to have thorough information about the region, the sights and sounds, its attractions, history, geography, culture et al, which makes the tour interesting and a fun one too. Public speaking skills come in handy here, gift of the gab certainly scores brownie points as well.
As a tour guide one would be working full-time with a well-known travel agency, a government outfit or can even think of self-employment (own travel venture). It is not necessarily a ‘day-job’, sometimes tour guides have to be around over the weekends, evenings and late nights too. The latter would happen mostly when the season is on full-swing.
Tour guides have to brace the vagaries of nature and would be required to travel for their clients, local, national and sometimes internationally as well. Most private travel and tour companies would look for professionals with;
Excellent Language Skills
Being bilingual or trilingual as a tour guide would give anyone an edge over the others to be chosen for the job. Professionals would be booked for inter-state travel or international travel, where meeting travelers who do not necessarily speak the same tongue would be the norm. Trending now and languages most in demand are French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese.
Outstanding Soft Skills
A memorable personality and the gift of the gab are important for a tour guide to posses. Information one shares with tourists and travelers can be boring at times, which is why a few quirky jokes and funny one-liners thrown in, would make one stand out from the shoal of guides out there.
Personality, gift of the gab, knowledge of the travel industry, recent trends and updates of the area and the way to handle situations would be tested by potential employers. There are many websites, blogs and forums that have expert tour guides speaking about their experiences gained so far. It would be wise to read up more and understand what they have to say. Getting paid to travel around, meeting new people and enjoying their company can be a lot of fun, learn how to be a charismatic persona and becoming a tour guide would come naturally to you.